Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Entertain Fair Trade, Volume 2: Singing the Blues

Welcome to another installment of Entertaining Fair Trade, my chance to showcase the lovely items sold at Ten Thousand Villages along with some of my own pieces.  Please visit my previous posting, A Colorful World, to learn more about the store and their mission to support artisans from developing countries around the world.  I had been working on this tablescape...

in my mind for weeks and weeks, admiring the new items that had been added to the Blue and White collection, mentally pairing them with pieces already in my collection.  Oh...the picture I had in my mind was stunning.  I just could not wait to actually set this table!  Although the store sells a number of tablecloths in the blue family,

I chose this hand screened Springtime Floral cloth, made in India.  The main body of the cloth is cream, covered with paisley, flowers and leaves, while the pattern is concentrated at the border along with bold cobalt stripes.

I've dressed up the matching napkins with these "PEACE" silver napkin rings.  The Blue and White collection at Ten Thousand Villages includes many hand painted pieces from Vietnam.  A little background from a quick internet search..In Vietnam, the use of cobalt blue underglaze for decoration on porcelain began during the 14th century and this traditional style of ceramics is still being produced by artisans today. What I really hoped to accomplish with this tablescape was to blend the traditional with the modern.

Several years ago, I discovered these cobalt and white salad plates at Pottery Barn.  The pattern, Something Blue, with birds and botanicals, is exaggerated and bold, yet hints at traditional Asian porcelain as its inspiration. Equally modern and fresh, yet keeping with the color scene, these hand painted Dots dinner plates from West Elm, with their whimsical blue dotted rims, tie all of the pieces together.

I hope you agree that this eclectic combination of traditional Vietnamese porcelain and modern blue and white dinnerware not only works, but is gorgeous.  At Ten Thousand Villages, blue and white times are often shown paired with rich brown wood...

therefore I chose these deep brown woven chargers from my own collection to accent the cobalt and white pieces.  This adorable Shesham Butterfly Box from India would be a perfect little party favor for a special dinner guest.

Or...I think it could be cleverly repurposed as a salt cellar on the table.  This vase, with an unknown history, is part of my own collection.

Thank you to the folks at Trader Joe's for having cobalt blue and white flowers for me...you must have read my mind!

I like the way the gold and blue stems of my wine glasses pick up the colors in the vase.  Also from my own collection are these optic water goblets, with a touch of cobalt blue in the stems.  I also selected several tabletop accessories, again pieces from the Blue and White collection at Ten Thousand Villages.

Influenced by Ming China, this Floral Sugar and Creamer set fits snugly together inside of a bamboo basket.  Made at the same studio in a village near Hanoi...

these pretty Flowering Tea Lights add a special touch that only candlelight can do.

For interest, each one is carefully painted with a different pattern.

To tie this table together, I have woven this Showers of Flowers garland throughout my tabletop.  Made in Bangladesh from paper and palms leaves...

this darling garland will be decorating many more of my tablescapes.  I just could not be happier with this table setting and had so much fun putting it together.

Please visit Ten Thousand Villages' website to learn so much more about the products I have featured today.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Check it Out

Sometimes all that a tablescape needs is one fresh new item, a little imagination and a good memory.  Let me explain.  I recently spotted this colorful red, yellow and green plaid tablecloth at Home Goods.

It was very reasonably priced, under ten dollars, and really rather pretty.  Couldn't resist.  I immediately thought of these cute (funny shaped) polka dot napkins that I found at West Elm a few seasons ago.

Things were falling to place.  My plain white plates, with their subtle white-on-white checks would be lovely...

...especially perched atop these shiny red chargers.

I decided to add a runner...well actually a yellow polka dot scarf repurposed as a runner...just for fun.  Wait a minute!  I think I have THE perfect salad plates tucked way in the back of a kitchen cabinet.  These are vintage 70's or 80's...something my dear Aunt Tess discovered at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Like me, she really did love dishes, and all of the special things from her collection hold very fond memories for me.  This table was meant for these plates!  A tried green wine glasses and yellow champagne flutes but settled upon these deep ruby red goblets.

Silly me...I usually use these only at the holidays.   Years ago, I bought this pale green ceramic Arranage It vase from Southern Living at Home, and loved it so much, I bought four more to give as Christmas gifts.  It is fitted with a "frog" so all you have to do is pop in 19 flowers and you have a gorgeous arrangement every time.

Alstroemeria work particularly well, with the added bonus of looking great for at least a week!   The last detail was to light a few votives...

...and my table was complete.

Finding those old plates was such a treat, and it all started with a new tablecloth.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mimosa Morning

The following is a true story.  Sometimes, tablescapes..well..sort of...just happen!  As you probably already have heard, the Chicago area had a ridiculous number of 80 plus degree sunny days.  For those of you unfamiliar with March in Chicagoland...TOTALLY unheard of.  And reason to celebrate!  So I went shopping.  Found this scarf at Coldwater Creek (that I liked when it was full priced).  But today it was marked down... TWICE!  I got to thinking.  Before I actually wear this scarf, I'm seeing it on a tabletop.  I already have almost everything a need to set a sweet little table.  I couldn't wait to get home.  Now all I need is my photographer.  Well, lucky me.  Laura just happens to stop by after school, needing my daughter's help with photo project.  So, see.  This tablescape really and truly just happened.

I originally planned to use the scarf simply as a runner.  However, it was really quite long...so...I decided to tie the scarf around the table and was quite happy with the result.

Now I had an attractive soft knot and the fringe on the scarf was now able to be seen.  Honestly, the beautiful color combination of the scarf led the way for the rest of the tablescape.

I began my layering with a soft grey grass mat from Crate & Barrel.

Next I added a smaller, coral placemat they recently found at World Market on top of the grey.  All this simple table needed were my favorite plain white plates, but this time, since this table is for breakfast...

I brought out my seldom used, albeit very pretty, coffee cups and saucers.  The smoky handles of my Aero flatware...

(a current item at Crate & Barrel) were a good compliment to the grey.  A simple pale yellow linen napkin fancied up with these...

cute beaded napkin rings from Sur La Table completed my layers.  I have had these fabulous bright canary yellow champagne flutes for years,

and until today, never had quite the right spot for them.  I think they are perfect.  As is this chartreuse art glass vase from Sweden...

filled with carnations that are the ideal shade of salmon.  Excuse me while I grab a bottle of Proseco and settle in for a very special brunch.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Easter, Yet Again

Got myself into some tabletop trouble today.  I blame it on jet lag.  Let me explain.  I thought I was supposed to help with inventory at Ten Thousand Villages.  Turns out, inventory was yesterday.  Oops. With time on my hands, I saw this as an opportunity to wander around Glen Ellyn.  I popped into Marcel's, a lovely cooking school / gourmet shop / cooking store and a wonderful new addition to downtown Glen Ellyn. It just so happens that the shop is filled with many, many gorgeous tabletop items.  It happened again.  My eye was suddenly caught by this Springy striped tablecloth.

I think it was the slightly out of the ordinary colors (melon, apple green, kiwi green, peach, plum and aqua) that made me look twice.  Hmmm...I really did need to set a second table for Easter.  And I really do like this cloth.  Sold.

I really did need these apple green napkins that match so well.

Oh...and these darling tapers.  I could not wait to get home and set the table!  A quick stop at trader Joe's for some flowers and I was ready.

I remembered these multicolored bamboo placemats that I found at Kohl's last summer and I simply fashioned them into a runner down the center of my table.  Now, time to layer.

I knew these pretty coral colored placemats from World Market would be a good addition to my collection.

Naturally, I grabbed my perfect plain white plates and set atop gold leaf(ish) chargers.  I'm so glad I decided to purchase these...

Fann coral salad plates on a recent trip to West Elm.  I simply rolled up my cheery green napkins and tucked them into...

...multi-colored napkin rings, again from Kohl's.  I just love a little bit of chocolate to finish off a great meal, so each of my guests will enjoy a sweet treat.

I have fond memories of eating jello with sliced bananas as a kid from these antique tiny parfait glasses.  I have not used them in years!

How delicious a mimosa will taste sipped from these mint green champagne flutes, old favorites of mine from Horchow.  Not until I took a close look did I notice that the blue and green stripes on these tapers are actually...

tiny strips of wax, carefully stuck on the hand rolled white tapers.  So cute.  I'm showing them off in these...

vintage lavender cut glass pineapple candle holders.

Finally, these deep purple tulips look beautiful in my  handpainted vase from Rosenthal.  I am just delighted with my Easter table.

Lucky for me that I had such a successful (albeit unplanned) trip to Marcel's today!